11/28/2013 10:13AM

Japan: Pants On Fire only foreign shipper in Japan Cup Dirt

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Pants On Fire, winner of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in 2011 and four other stakes, makes his international debut in Sunday’s $2,655,577 Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin Racecourse.

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has been booked to ride Pants On Fire for owners George and Lori Hall and trainer Kelly Breen.

Pants On Fire won the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park in July and the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill Downs in September, before finishing seventh behind Goldencents in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. Pants On Fire broke from the outside in a field of 10 in the BC Dirt Mile. He raced as close as third on the turn before fading through the stretch of a speed-favoring track.

The Japan Cup Dirt is run over 1 1/8 miles on a right-handed track. Pants On Fire is the only foreign shipper in a projected field of 18.

The contenders include Nihonpiro Ours, who won the 2012 Japan Cup Dirt but has not raced since finishing second in the Teio Sho Stakes at Ohi Racecourse in June. The Japanese Dirt Derby winner Chrysolite is a candidate, along with the 8-year-old Espoir City, who won the 2009 Japan Cup Dirt, and recent Grade 3 stakes winners Belshazzar and Brightline.